To really appreciate the fine flavour notes and nuances of chocolate one must really taste chocolate in the correct way, just as you would taste wine.
Here are our simple steps:
LOOK look at your piece of chocolate and check the following: the chocolate should be shiny, meaning it is the correct crystal structure and well tempered. What depth of colour does it have? it may have hues of purple, orange or red.
Conclusion: a good chocolate should look sexy and tempting with a glossy shine and a good depth of colour.
LISTEN: Break your chocolate in half, what sound is there? A low thud is not a great sign, although this is not unusual for a milk chocolate. Does it snap brightly?
Conclusion: Your piece of chocolate should be bright and lively with a clear, crisp snap when broken.
TASTE: Place a small piece of chocolate in the centre of you tongue. Close your mouth and let it melt. You can encourage notes to reveal themsleves by pushing your tongue up to the roof of your mouth and moving it. As the chocolate melts you should start to concentrate and detect different notes that may remind you of other foods, nuts, coffee, licorice, red fruits are all common notes found within chocolate.
Conclusion: This is the fun bit, there is no right or wrong and the chocolate may taste different to each and every individual. Try chocolate at different times of day.
TIP: Try comparing a series of 3-5 different brands of chocolate for the biggest learning curve. You'll be astounded by the differences. Try two different milk chocolates and then move onto two or three dark chocolates. Compare different single origin chocolate.
LENGTH: After you have finished your chocolate what is you mouth left with? A pleasant taste, sweet? bitter? nothing?
Conclusion: a good chocolate will leave your mouth full of a rich, chocolatety taste for a long time, this is called 'finish'. Some good chocolate will leave a finish of up to 30 minutes. That is why a good, dark chocolate can be so satisfying to the palate.
TIP: Don't be afraid to feel and taste what you want. Don't feel intimidated, it should be a pleasure and full of fun!